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Making A Point?

Friday, Oct. 19, 2007 7:05 AM


According to White House Spokesperson Dana Perino, President Bush's invoking of 'World War III' during his Wednesday morning press conference was Mr. Bush's attempt to 'make a point.'

And that point would be what, exactly?

Let's review:

"So I've told people that if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from have (sic) the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon. I take the threat of Iran with a nuclear weapon very seriously. And we'll continue to work with all nations about the seriousness of this threat."

So, Mr. Bush has another Armageddon-laced wet dream about another crackpot in the Middle East with a habit of making anti-American statements. This apparently justifies another round of reckless, hair-on-fire military adventurism.

And we return to the Bush Administration paradigm for diplomacy - that substantive talks must be accompanied by a threat, in case the talking part doesn't work.

So far, the only thing Iran has done is call us names.

And while there is no love lost between Iran and Israel, we'll emphasize again that Ahmadinejad never called for the destruction of Israel.

It also stands to reason that Israel is quite capable of taking care of itself, having recently demonstrating the ability to bomb Lebanon for a month running, as well as conduct an air strike on a suspected Syrian nuclear facility.

So, where's the point?

Moreover, how is mere possession of technical knowledge - readily available through these things called books, or across the internet - a threat comparable to the spectre of global war?

Why are we poised, yet again, to drop the hammer on a supposed weapons program? Where is the proof - hard, incontrovertible proof - that Iran has the wherewithal to take knowledge and translate it into an actual device? Even North Korea's 'test' of their alleged nuclear weapons was disputed, and his Taepodong-2 missile a failure.

And if his concern was genuine, what's with the giggles and grins? Bush is able to go all grim and serious when he wants to browbeat Congress, but World War III is just another episode of Those Wacky Iranians.


Despite earlier remarks that he would defend the Constitution, we've finally come to the meat and potatoes of the Mukasey confirmation hearings.

And Judge Mukasey has been found wanting. Despite decrying the Bybee memo approving torture, Mukasey hesitated to qualify waterboarding and other 'enhanced interrogation' methods as torture. He also speculated that the president has authority beyond the scope of the Constitution when it comes to national defense.

But, I'm certain the Democrats will waffle and flounder about, then vote for confirmation regardless. It seems to be their specialty of late.


Case in point - though Senator Chris Dodd has announced that he will keep the 'improved' intelligence bill from going up for a vote, the Democrats nonetheless managed to approve legal immunity for those 'alleged' acts by telecommunications companies.

The 'reforms' suggested by the Bush Administration should be rejected outright, not treated as sensible and prudent measures that can be tweaked.


Several major airports have begun use of a 'fast pass' system for frequent fliers.

By paying a $100 fee and submitting to a pre-screening process, travelers are given a card encoded with biometric data - fingerprints and retinal patterns. Travelers then verify this information at a kiosk to gain access to an abbreviated search procedure.

This is nothing but a dangerous illusion. While fingerprints and retinal patterns are effectively unique, the assumption is that the $100 fee makes the program suitable for business travelers, and not the average passenger. It's also assumed that the screening process will catch those possessing evil intent, like a terrorist.

If it were necessary for their plans, I wouldn't exactly put a clean identity and $100 beyond the reach of a criminal or terrorist.


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